by Pastor Ed Evans
Many of us, whether supporters of Donald Trump, cautious admirers, or die-hard non-supporters, have been watching the TV coverage of the Republican National Convention. As one who has spent more than 50 years dealing with the American and international news media, I have perhaps paid attention to different aspects of that coverage than have others, and I find great disappointment.
CBS in particular has done a wretched, deliberately I suspect, wretched job. At a high point in the early convention CBS broke for a several days old interview with Trump’s opponent Hillary Clinton. Here they are promoting gavel-to-gavel coverage of a Republican convention and they switch to a Democratic opponent who is castigating and savaging her opponent, Republican Donald Trump.
I was so disgusted I switched to C-Span and there I stayed. Even-handed coverage.
But it was when I switched that I believe I discovered the reason CBS went to a Hillary Clinton interview. For at the convention, at that very point, conventioneers were hearing from the former Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, former LtGen. Michael Flynn, on the disastrous amount of damage Hillary Clinton had done with her injudicious handling of her email and classified documents on an unofficial email system she had set up for herself. And it is disastrous. For not only are our classified secrets now in the hands of our enemies and detractors, but so are her private emails. This sets her up for a monumental amount of blackmail, if our enemies wish. How can one operate in the Oval Office on behalf of America under those circumstances?
So much of the past four years under the Obama administration needs to be corrected. Operating outside the bounds of Constitutional authority, without Congress holding his feet to the fire, President Obama and his administration have created racial, economic, and national security havoc. Even the social assistance program dubbed “Obamacare”, intended to meet the needs of so many people, is coming apart and leaving those who need it most in economic and medical jeopardy. There is so much that needs to be corrected.
And so it is with a cautiously hopeful heart that many Americans, politically affiliated or not, are watching the events play out at the Republican National Convention, placing Donald Trump and Governor Pence in the spotlight of history. All the while the CBS reporters go on camera discussing the size of the hall, the empty seats, seeking out delegates who will have a targeted bad word to say about Trump. CBS has studiously abandoned their responsibility to the American people to provide all the facts unfettered with personal agendas. The CBS reportage team embarrassed themselves when they went onto the Convention floor seeking the Convientioneers’ comments about the similarities between Melania Trump’s speech and an old one of First Lady Michelle Obama. Responded the delegates on the floor: “We don’t care.”
All of this sadness has sent my mind reeling back to another era, when world leaders were world leaders and the rest of us were glad of it. And Winston Churchill, he who once termed himself merely the lion given the gift of being the British nation’s roar in victory over World War II, Churchill appeared at the Harrow boys’ school in England to give a speech. The words still ring out with the bronze bell sound of freedom and dedication to that freedom, today.
A sermon illustration from Pastor Lee Eclov of Vernon Hills, Illinois, best recalls the event, as follows.
There is a widespread myth about a famous short speech supposedly delivered by Winston Churchill. Most versions go something like the one I found in a Christian book:
There's this famous story about Sir Winston Churchill, who near the end of his distinguished career was asked to return and speak at his old school, Harrow (where as a boy he'd almost flunked out)…
The great day finally arrived, and after the school's fanfare and acclamation Sir Winston stood to his feet, acknowledged the introduction, and gave the following address, which is quoted in full: 'Young men, never give up. Never give up! Never give up!! Never, never, never-never-never-never!'"
According to Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, the speech was not delivered near the end of Churchill's career (he died in 1965), but on October 29, 1941. And he wasn't Sir Winston till 1953. And what he really said was, "Never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never—in nothing, great or small, large or petty—never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense."
In addition, this familiar speech was not 29 words long, but rather two pages. The famous quote was neither at the beginning nor the end, but hidden away in a long paragraph recounting Great Britain's progress during the first 10 months of World War II. The full speech reads:
Almost a year has passed since I came down here at your Head Master's kind invitation in order to cheer myself and cheer the hearts of a few of my friends by singing some of our own songs. The 10 months that have passed have seen very terrible catastrophic events in the world—ups and downs, misfortunes—but can anyone sitting here this afternoon, this October afternoon, not feel deeply thankful for what has happened in the time that has passed and for the very great improvement in the position of our country and of our home? Why, when I was here last time we were quite alone, desperately alone, and we had been so for five or six months. We were poorly armed. We are not so poorly armed today; but then we were very poorly armed. We had the unmeasured menace of the enemy and their air attack still beating upon us, and you yourselves had had experience of this attack; and I expect you are beginning to feel impatient that there has been this long lull with nothing particular turning up!
But we must learn to be equally good at what is short and sharp and what is long and tough. It is generally said that the British are often better at the last. They do not expect to move from crisis to crisis; they do not always expect that each day will bring up some noble chance of war; but when they very slowly make up their minds that the thing has to be done and the job put through and finished, then, even if it takes months—if it takes years—they do it.
Eclov, in his remembrance of the event, goes on to say, “Another lesson I think we may take ….. is that appearances are often very deceptive, and as Kipling well says, we must "…meet with Triumph and Disaster. And treat those two impostors just the same."
God alone knows how the November election will turn out. Many of us hope Trump will be the victor and he will keep his promises to America to lead this nation back to greatness, out of a mire of ethical, moral, economic and legal bad decisions. Out of the darkness, into the sunlight, without failure or obfuscation. Against that we must never give in. Never, never, never.